Zero Trust Security: Blind Trust? No way!
Many people have certainly heard of the term “Zero Trust”. But what exactly do we mean by it? Zero Trust Security is a model in which every person and every device – inside or outside the company – is classified as untrusted and must be authorized, authenticated and continuously validated in order to gain access to certain resources in a network.
And that is an approach that is as modern as it is important. After all, conventional security concepts assume that people and systems already on a company’s network can be trusted. It is assumed that perimeter protection measures, such as a firewall, are effective enough to keep unwanted or unauthorized people or devices off the network. Zero Trust contradicts this “classic” and outdated attitude.
The technology behind Zero Trust
- Let’s briefly cover in a few keywords the technologies Zero Trust makes use of to better understand the whole concept.
- For example, there is Privilege Access Management (PAM), which sets the lowest possible access rights for each user or facility.
- Multifactor authentication (MFA) relies on two or more ways to verify the identity of the user or entity.
- The so-called micro-segmentation creates small zones in the network to ensure separate access to applications or parts of the network.
- Network Detection and Response, or NDR, solutions enable both successful migration to a zero-trust architecture and ongoing monitoring.
- Endpoint monitoring, detection and response capabilities can help ensure the security posture of an access device.
- Last but not least, vulnerability management and patching are essential to prevent security breaches caused by system vulnerabilities.
What are the pros and cons of Zero Trust?
As with any concept, Zero Trust offers both advantages and disadvantages for users. Let’s start with the most important advantages: The trust an entity has in a network is very narrowly defined, limiting it to the services it is authorized to access. There is no way to access other resources on the network, since other resources are not even visible to the entity. In addition, this approach can limit the potential for damage in the event of an attack, but it does not help per se against attacks such as phishing. This is where people and the security awareness of all employees are most important.
One major disadvantage of Zero Trust is obvious: It is complex and expensive. The process may require a complete redesign and recoding of the entire infrastructure. In the process, legacy applications and infrastructures may not even support the technologies required for Zero Trust.
Conclusion on the concept of Zero Trust
The concepts underlying Zero Trust sound simple, but in planning and implementation it is important to also consider the challenges of practical implementation.
Looking to the future, however, Zero Trust offers high security potential and could become the new standard for a safer work environment, despite the difficulties in implementation mentioned above.